I wear a Toronto Blue Jays baseball hat when I’m out and about in the community. Not when I’m working, of course, but on the weekends I’m forced to don some kind of hat to protect my bald spot from burning in the hot Okanagan sun.
Plus it also conveniently covers my folically-challenged status and may, or may not, make me look a little younger, or hopefully not but maybe just look like someone who is trying desperately to look younger but is not really pulling it off. And no, I don’t wear it the new way like my kids do (kinda sideways like), I actually pull it down over my head so hopefully that’s at least age-appropriate.
Now the fact that it’s a Blue Jays hat and said team has recently clinched the American League East title and will soon be in the playoffs for the first time since the World Champion years of 1992 and ‘93 may lead some to assume I’m jumping on the proverbial bandwagon at the last minute. Hardly.
I’ve had the hat for well over a year and to be honest I bought it less because it was the Blue Jays and more because it is a funky, stylized version of the logo and it was time to retire my funky, stylized retro Montreal Expos hat, which also drew its fair share of attention and story-telling about the good old days of that now-defunct franchise (unless you’ve adopted the Washington Nationals as your own because that’s where Les Expos moved to many years ago).
So, it’s more about looks, just call me shallow if you like, but that’s not to say that I’m not a fan of those two teams, because I am, and I can probably pass most trivia tests put before me to prove that fact (although I may regret stating that).
However, I once wore an Edmonton Eskimos hat and a Kamloops Blazers hat for a considerable amount of time for the practical reasons stated above (the former because I went to a game at Commonwealth Stadium and the latter was a gift) even though I’m a Lions fan and more a Rockets than Blazers fan but, again, they looked good.
Yeah, yeah, some fan I am. It’s just protecting the noggin comes first and fashion comes before fandom but if you can ever combine the two even better.
Which brings me back full circle to the aforementioned Jays hat. Like the team itself, it’s getting more attention lately.
The other night while filling up with gas a stranger looked my way and asked: “Did they win tonight?”
It took me aback at first because usually self-serve etiquette is more about staring off into space as the dial spins astronomically fast, especially the price one, but I quickly figured out he was talking about the Blue Jays, due to said hat on my head.
And before you know it I’m excitedly telling him about an amazing ninth-inning rally and Donaldson this and Batista that and I expanded into my recent trip to Toronto to witness Tulowitzki’s first game, as if my family and I being there helped start this second-half rally to greatness – and he listened attentively and said a couple appropriate things and we bonded and left happier than when we first drove in to fill up on $1.17.9 gasoline.
That’s the beauty of this thing, not only does it get people excited about sports and ‘our team,’ but it brings people together and is probably doing more for national unity and general morale than any politician has done since, well, since, a very long time. In fact if the Blue Jays keep winning I would say it’s a spillover feelgood effect for the ruling party (you know, the blue one), but if they flame out in the first round…..
Certainly I understand if you’re a diehard Yankees, or Red Sox or even Dodgers fan this all might seem, well, a little shallow and not earned at all, especially when it comes to the newbies, and, hey, I respect and get that.
So don’t feel you have to join the bandwagon but please don’t begrudge us who have and I for one am ready to heartily enjoy meaningful baseball in October with friends and strangers alike.
And did I mention I got my Blue Jays hat well over a year ago, maybe two?